Achilles Heel, Pain in bottom of heel, Patience, Treatment and Solution in lifestyle

Day one: Start of pain.

It started all of a sudden. While I got off the car as a healthy person, after walking away a few yards, a pain hit from under the bottom of left heel and every step thereafter became an effort to walk. The steps became smaller and slower.
Once inside, I took off the shoe and it was relief. Walking, bare foot, neither relieved the pain nor the limp but It did reduce the extent of pain, some how.
Next four hours, while I was busy on my chair, with feet rested on the support under the table, there was not much pain. However in the evening, the walk back was not easy. I believed that pain will go away soon.
Upon reaching home the first thing was to arrange a bucket of warm water and dip my feet rather calves into it for next one hour. It was relieving. Dinner with two shots of Vodka made it all disappear and I enjoyed the evening stroll after dinner albeit with some struggle, only to discover that it was foolish.

Day two: Acute and chronic pain

Next morning it was clear that something serious has hit. Getting into slippers was easy but to stand up in wooden foot which aches, was not easy. Any how, limping and dragging the foot seem to be the option and I complied. So what to do?
Now the first and second and many more suggestions received and ironically they were all the same i.e. rush to a Doctor. Should I call an ambulance with stretcher?

Unfortunately modern allopathic medicine has three only three weapons against disease i.e. Antibiotics, Pain killers and Surgery. Rest is all junk. There is no medicine invented to heal or to accelerate healing process.
Often patients on  painkillers, not feeling the pain hurts himself/herself more. Therefore I decided to rest with feet firmly placed on hot water bottle and watch the DVD’s of which were missing me.

Day three to five: Slow progress accelerated on sixth day

Further day-wise narration of is not necessary as the experiments are summarized at the bottom under caption ‘Do’s and Don’t’.

The Problem called Achilles heel

Diagram of Achilles Heel & tendom

Image credit jtess dot com

Pain in the heel is caused by one or more of following possibilities :

1. Irritation of tendon
2. Inflammation of tendon
3. De-generative, microscopic tears within the tendon
4. Rupture of tendon

It is often believed that pain is caused by overuse of  Achilles tendon which causes inflammation of tendon, however in my case it was due to less use of tendon or rather lack of regular stretching of muscles of the legs which caused it and it was precipitated by shoe with rather raised bed in the middle.
Self diagnosis can be made by lying down straight or half upright, with legs straight and trying to move/rotate ankle up and down slowly. We shall see that injured ankle has lesser movement than healthy feet. After initial, all-pervading pain subsides, tenderness of tendon is revealed and by touching at the back of ankle, swollen and hurt nerve can be felt.

Kinds of pain

Pain in any organ of body is reflected in one or more of following manner:
1. Shooting pain
2. Chronic (perpetual) pain
3. Soothing pain with feeling of warmth on the surface
4. Tiring pain (as if the area is too tired)

These types of pain occur in Achilles Heel as well, mostly in above order; but may alternate as well.

It starts with shooting pain, after rest and hot water it becomes chronic upon walking and disappear while resting or is replaced by soothing (rather healing) pain. The Last stage is frequent tiredness of leg.

Treatment besides Do’s and Do’nt

1. Most important: Immediate rest by keeping the entire leg straight and ankle support (like small rolled towel) under the ankle.
2. Keep ankle warm by keeping hot water bottle.
3. Use a bucketful of warm water with alum and keep the leg dipped into it for atleast 10/15 minutes for twice a day
4. Rest for at-least two days and do not take pain-killer unless absolutely necessary
5. Warm mustard oil with few cloves of garlic duly chopped. Apply this oil periodically on the ankle, rather entire foot. It supplies the lack of lubricant in tendon.
6. Take crape bandage and make an anklet before setting foot on ground but remove this anklet when in bed. Keeping it on may tense the muscle, retarding healing. Wearing socks, while in bed, also do not help. Let feet cuddle and massage each other, if it does not cause pain. It appears in case of torn or ruptured tendon, this may not be correct. Stop this after pain cease to be panic.
7. Once chronic pain has disappeared, start stretching the legs, rather whole body a few times every day and make it a routine for future.
8. Bicycle stationary or exerciser, is a good stretching exercise, just do not try heavy setting or fast speed.
9. Complete recovery will take time. At-least three weeks. So be patient. Literally.
10. After chronic pain disappears, sitting cross legs (Sukhasana) helps but with one leg over other is best. Do not even try Padmasana; See any picture of Buddha. In any case this not a time to start any of this, if not done before.
11. Even after recovery, make it a habit to rest the legs for a while, by placing it on a chair opposite the seated chair; if it not possible to rest in bed for a while.
12. Remember if lack of stretching caused this pain, rest is useful only in distress. Start walking, even if little, as soon as possible.

Anklet made with crepe bandage for irritating ankle tendon.

Anklet image courtesy thefootandankleclinic dot com

Medicine or Food Supplement

1. Protein rich but low fat diet e.g. Soybean, Tofu, Bengal gram or Kidney beans (for vegetarians like me). For others I presume prawns or something like that, I do not know for sure.
2. One capsule/tablet of favorite multi vitamin which includes B12 at night.
3. Dry fruit and nuts about 40 gms. daily.
4. Pain killer or local sprays only if extremely necessary (read below).

For causes other than injury

If onset of pain is after days of morning fatigue in feet or legs and no previous history of trauma or injury, it could be due to an illness caused by peripheral neuropathy. The cause for it is deficiency of B12.  I had to take sub-lingual b12 medicine which can also be taken SOS as temporary pain killed. Consult the physician and point out this ailment called peripheral neuropathy as most doctors ignore it for no reason. To study more about it please visit neuropathy dot org which has all the necessary details. In such condition other pain killers (called NSOID) can act as most destructive.

© Sandeep Bhalla

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